American Herald Tribune | MICHAEL HOWARD: Cast your mind back to 2014, when Donald J. Trump was merely a national embarrassment, as opposed to a global emergency. In March of that year, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 68/262 in response to Russia’s takeover of Crimea following a controversial referendum in which the overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to rejoin the Russian Federation. Titled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine,” the resolution “underscores that the referendum held in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol on 16 March 2014, having no validity, cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or of the city of Sevastopol.” In view of that, it “calls upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol on the basis of the above-mentioned referendum and to refrain from any action or dealing that might be interpreted as recognizing any such altered status.”
I’m not going to, as the folks over at CNN like to say, “litigate” the details of Crimea’s reunification with Russia; that is beyond the scope of this essay. Suffice it to say that Western media’s interpretation of the affair—that a full-scale invasion of Europe was in the offing, that Vladimir Putin is in fact Adolf Hitler—was reckless and hysterical and exasperating and, one must add, completely unsurprising. The mass media in the West relish any opportunity to ramp up tensions with Russia and increase the risk of nuclear war; it’s become their raison d’être in recent years. After all, the annihilation of the human race is a small price to pay to thwart Putin’s regional ambitions. What, you don’t agree? Well then. You’re clearly a useful idiot. Kremlin stooge. Russian propagandist. Traitor. Spy. Should be fried in the electric chair. Like the Rosenbergs. But I digress.
Some food for thought: suppose Resolution 68/262 was introduced not in March 2014 but in December 2016, as the world waited for Emperor Trump to ascend to the throne. Suppose the Russians, claiming to have “evidence” that Barack Obama was a driving force behind the resolution, reached out to Trump’s transition team, behind Obama’s back, and told them to lobby UN member states against the resolution. Suppose Trump obliged, delegating the sordid errand to members of his inner circle (say, Jared Kushner and Mike Flynn). To recap: in this hypothetical scenario we’ve got a president-elect actively working to undermine a sitting president’s policy regarding an international conflict, on behalf of a foreign power that happens to be a party to said conflict. Now suppose evidence of this plot came to light during an investigation of Trump’s campaign. What might happen next?
Pandemonium. Hysterics. The end of Donald Trump. We would have the proverbial “smoking gun,” irrefutable proof of a backstairs conspiracy between Trump (before he took office) and Moscow, the purpose being to sabotage the efforts of the US government and its allies—a scandalous revelation. The neo-McCarthyists would be (somewhat) vindicated. #IToldYouSo would begin trending on Twitter. Red Scare skeptics would have to face the music. There may even be grounds for an indictment under the obscure Logan Act, which no one had ever heard of before RussiaGate and which reads:
Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
It seems plain that, in our hypothetical, Trump is in violation of the Logan Act, as he is most certainly discoursing with the Russians “without authority of the United States,” arguably to “defeat the measures of the United States” (though that could mean many things). The real question is whether the Logan Act is itself a violation of the First Amendment, which makes no exception for speech between an American citizen and a foreign government (we are not at war with Russia, despite what the Washington Post would have you believe, so treason does not factor into the equation). These are real considerations, since the Logan Act has been trotted out by the Resistance® as a potential silver bullet against Trump, but they are considerations for constitutional scholars. We will not “litigate” them here.
With all that in mind, suppose the hypothetical scenario I just described is not hypothetical at all; suppose it really happened. For this to be the case, merely substitute Resolution 2334 for Resolution 68/262, and Israel/Israelis for Russia/Russians. To refresh your memory, Resolution 2334 was adopted by the UN Security Council in December 2016 by a vote of 14-0 (with the US abstaining); it explicitly condemns Israel’s colonial policies in the occupied territories. The resolution states, inter alia, “that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”
You will perhaps remember the melodrama that ensued. The American right (which includes most of the American “left”) had a collective seizure. By neglecting to veto the non-binding resolution, as he did in 2011, Obama came in for a torrent of vituperation otherwise reserved for Russkies and Mullahs. What you may have forgot about, however, are reports that Trump—then president-elect—personally lobbied Egypt’s mass-murdering president to withdraw the resolution before it could be voted on. This was done without the consent of the Obama administration, and obviously on behalf of Israel. Needless to say nobody cared. But again, imagine that President-elect Trump was lobbying other countries to withdraw a UN resolution condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine. The heavens could not contain the fury that would sweep across our republic.
Things became a little more squalid when, after the resolution passed, the Israelis announced that they had “clear evidence” that Obama had had a hand in drafting it. Appearing on CNN, Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer said: “We will present this evidence to the new administration through the appropriate channels, and if they want to share it with the American people they are welcome to do it.” He went on to cast Israel as a hapless victim, cruelly bullied by the big, bad United Nations: “It’s an old story that the United Nations gangs up on Israel. What is new is that the United States did not stand up and oppose that gang up. And what is outrageous is that the United States was actually behind that gang up.”
Assuming for a moment that such evidence exists, why in the world would Israel be in possession of it? There are two possibilities: either someone within the Obama administration collected this “evidence” and passed it along to Israel, or else Israel collected the “evidence” itself. Both scenarios are appalling; both call for a thorough investigation.
Behold Israel’s utter disdain for the United States and its people: its ambassador has no misgivings about coming onto an American television channel and brazenly asserting that he has secret intelligence on a sitting US president. Would he have done so if he wasn’t absolutely certain of Israel’s impunity on Capitol Hill? Of course not. Nor would “Bibi” Netanyahu have humiliated Obama by speaking against the Iran nuclear deal inside the House of Representatives while Obama was working to finalize the accord (a truly degrading spectacle that ought to have drawn the ire of every self-respecting American citizen). Through AIPAC, Israel purchases the right to bitch slap the United States whenever it pleases. And not only do we take the abuse, we pay them for the pleasure—to the tune of $4 billion a year.
Getting back to the resolution fiasco, the circumstances of Mike Flynn’s recent guilty plea complete the picture. Per the New York Times:
According to prosecutors, on Dec. 22, Mr. Flynn discussed with Mr. Kislyak an upcoming United Nations Security Council vote on whether to condemn Israel’s building of settlements. At the time, the Obama administration was preparing to allow a Security Council vote on the matter.
Mr. Mueller’s investigators have learned through witnesses and documents that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel asked the Trump transition team to lobby other countries to help Israel, according to two people briefed on the inquiry. Investigators have learned that Mr. Flynn and Mr. Kushner took the lead in those efforts.
Mr. Mueller’s team has emails that show Mr. Flynn saying he would work to kill the vote, the people briefed on the matter said.
That is, the FBI (our secret police) has proof that Trump’s transition team was colluding with Israel behind Obama’s back to scuttle the settlement resolution. Flynn’s December 22 conversation with Kislyak, now being brandished as evidence of collusion with Russia, was for the benefit of Israel. The call was made at Israel’s urging. Without Israel’s meddling the conversation would never have taken place. Furthermore, the Israelis themselves have suggested that they directly spy on, or have moles working inside of, the US government. Or both. And if you’re genuinely concerned about improper contact during the campaign, as the neo-McCarthyists profess to be, it certainly bears recalling that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump met with Netanyahu two months before the election and swore fealty to the Jewish State. Not to mention the obscene amount of money spilled into both campaigns—and in fact every major political campaign in recent memory—by organizations whose sole allegiance is to Israel; organizations, mind you, that have not filed as foreign agents under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The dots connect themselves.
So what’s Special Counsel Mueller going to do about it? Will he hold Israel to account for its various plots against the United States? Keep dreaming. Mueller’s a political hatchet man, or to quote Colonel Kurtz, “an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill.” He couldn’t care less about the integrity, or staggering lack thereof, of our political system. He’s out for Trump’s scalp, but only if it advances the agenda of the New Cold Warriors. Their endgame? The end times.